I mean… YEAH! I’m going to London!

 (What’s with the button, you ask? I need some help, please. Find out more below.)

I lucked out and got this loverly chance to study in London for the month of July…
BUT, I need your help and I have a great idea for how you can join me on a  “free trip” to LondonYay!

I have just one class left to complete my upper division art history requirements for my BFA and I’ve recently been given the amazing option to complete this requirement by studying abroad. The class I’m taking, entitled British Art: From the London School to the YBAs, is offered through the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad, of which UTC is a member. The class will meet in London and I’ll be living on the campus of King’s College for a month. It’s taught by Ron Buffington and those of you who know him, know this’ll be a fantastic class.
CCSA London Poster

“Have you ever wanted to explore London yourself, but not been able to go?”

The Opportunity of a Lifetime

Studying in London represents an opportunity I’ve never had and won’t likely have again. We’ll be visiting many great museums I’ve always wanted to see, including the Tate; viewing amazingly famous artwork up close and personal; and maybe speaking with museum directors (and possibly some artists).

I’ve also signed up for some really marvelous side excursions—a day-trip to Stonehenge & Salisbury Cathedral and a weekend in Edinburgh, Scotland. I’m particularly keen on seeing Stonehenge, something I’ve wanted to do since I first read The Once and Future King when I was 14.

My daughter has agreed to “let” me go to London with the understanding that I’ll Photoshop her into a picture of Stonehenge and my brother has dared me to lick a stone. Hmmm… tastes like Druid.

New Neural Pathways!

Since the course lasts a month, it’ll be an immersive experience in British culture. Granted, it’s not like I’m going somewhere completely  alien to me, like Ghana, but it’s enough of a cultural difference to thoroughly activate my right-brain thought processes and create most excellent new neural pathways. Woot!

More importantly, I expect this trip to get my new career in graphic design, for which I’m earning my BFA, off to a roaring start.

Tantalizing 5th Graders with the World Beyond

When I get back, I’m going to meet with the art teacher at Battle Academy about speaking to each of the 5th grade art classes about the trip and, ultimately, the opportunities available in college. My son, who’ll be a 5th grader this fall, told me he’s excited about my presentation and I hope it will be equally exciting to his classmates.

Battle Academy is a Title I school, which, for those of you who don’t know, means that at least 40% of the kids are receiving free or reduced meals based on family income. As a magnet school, Battle Academy offers an outstanding education based on the idea that not everyone learns in the same way and includes opportunities most kids in public school don’t get, such as weekly art and music classes.

Despite the great dedication of the teachers and staff at Battle, many students are still left out when it comes to learning about the world beyond their immediate environment because, as the Battle teachers know, it takes more than one approach to reach kids. Many of them, therefore, don’t know what’s possible beyond high school.

I would love it if I could engage even one child (who’s not my own) with the tantalizing prospect of studying abroad and following a dream. With any luck, I’ll reach more than one!

So, how am I getting to go to London?

In preparing for the trip, I applied for several scholarships and, luckily, I’ve been awarded two, totaling $3000. This is great and I’m thrilled, but unfortunately this won’t cover the cost of the trip. In fact, it’s only about half of what I need to go.

I checked with the Financial Aid office at UTC and was informed that I’ve exhausted the financial aid allowed for a single school year, so I have to find some alternatives. The total cost of the trip is $6000 (not including related expenses) and I’ve been working on coming up with the remaining money.

Why am I telling you all this?

Well, I’d like to ask your help and assistance in this great adventure and I have what I think just might be a really intriguing proposition for you. 😉 Have you ever wanted to explore London yourself, but not been able to go? What if you had access to a travelogue that explores London, but you had some influence over what was covered? Are you curious about the London transit system and if it’s as efficient or ungainly as you’ve heard? Have you ever wondered at what temperature Guiness is really served? (I’m sure it’s a myth that it’s served at room temperature and I aim to find out.)

If you answered yes to any of those questions, I know you’ll want to be along for the journey and I’d love to have you join me online. I want to share as much of my trip as I possibly can with everyone who helps me out. I plan to publish semi-weekly articles, audios, and videos on my blog so everyone who’s interested in the trip can keep up with it. If there’s something you want me to explore, send an email my way and let me know. If enough people want to see the same thing and I can fit it into the schedule, I’ll definitely cover it. Think of me as your personal travel reporter in England. 🙂

So, how can I help, you ask?

Just as all successful fundraising campaigns (optimistic aren’t I 😉 ) rely on large and small donations alike, I’m asking you to help fund my trip by pitching in $5, $10, or more if you’re so inclined. 🙂

I’ll be adding some PayPal buttons in a couple of days, just as soon as my account’s been verified. I’ve added a PayPal donation button below, for your convenience. If you don’t want to use PayPal and would like to send a check, Dad offered to let me use his business address, listed below:

Robin Seaman c/o
BKRZ Enterprises
5251-C Hwy 153, Suite 135
Hixson, TN 37343

If you would like to help with larger donations ($200+) I’m offering a very cool thank you gift. 😀

Let me know which you would prefer: a hand-bound edition of my senior thesis book, Idioms, or a custom pair of beautiful (if I do say so myself 😉 ) specially-metalsmithed-by-me-just-for-you earrings.

You’ll receive your gift sometime in October, 2012 when I expect to have fully recovered from this crazy trip and caught back up with everyone on this side of the pond. Check the blog posts for information about both my book and my metalsmithing.

If you have more questions about the trip, or the class, and want to talk to me, feel free to call or email me. I’m beyond thrilled about going to London and really eager to talk to everyone about it!

Thanks in advance for your support, whether it be monetary or just emotional; every bit is wildly appreciated as I begin this next leg of my life’s journey.

Yours sincerely, …with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and NO spam (bloody Vikings),